Title: And Tango Makes Three
Author: Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell
Illustrator: Henry Cole
Publisher: Little Simon
ISBN Number: 978-1481446952
Number of Pages: 36
Reading Level: 1-3
Genre: Children’s picture book
Summary: This is a story of a zoo that talks about families of different animals at the zoo. When it gets to the penguins it talks about boy and girl penguins liking each other, then talks about two boy penguins that are a little bit different. They do everything together and the zoo keeper thinks they are in love. They realize they are different from other couples because they cannot lay eggs or have babies. When the zookeeper notices, he takes an egg that needs cared for and the two penguins sit on it until it hatches. When the bird is born they name her Tango because it takes two to Tango. Tango is the first bird to have two daddies but is treated the same as the other penguins.
Main Themes: The theme of the book is tolerance of all kinds. At the beginning of the book, one line is that “families of all kinds” come to the zoo. This sets the theme from the start of diversity and acceptance of all. The penguins are not viewed as outcasts because of their love for one another. They are accepted for who they are.
Strengths: Making the story have animal characters instead of humans is a great way to discuss the topic in a warm, inviting way that will hopefully keep others from being disrupted and upset. The penguins notice that the female is the one to sit on the eggs before they hatch, so since they are both males they take turns sitting on it. The author of the story is a clinical and academic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst with interest in sexual development, early childhood development, self esteem regulation, and parenting. The book has been recognized as an American Library Association Notable Book and received the Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award and the Gustavus Meyers Award. The book does a great job of showing families who are unconventional but love each other for who they are.
Weaknesses: This book has been banned because of its homosexual content. It is a book that a teacher would need to get approval of before taking into a classroom.
http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Justin-Richardson/27409275 : This is a link to a website all about the professional development of the author Justin Richardson and his other involvement with teaching children about sexuality.
http://psychoanalysis.columbia.edu/people/faculty/justin-richardson-md : This is a professional biography about Dr. Richardson and includes information about the book and awards it has received.
http://www.care2.com/causes/and-tango-makes-three-tops-list-of-banned-books.html : This article discusses why the book is banned.